Memphis Grizzlies: 2019 NBA Draft Workouts Get Underway

Skylar Mays Matt McQuaid Memphis Grizzlies NBA Draft Prospects (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Skylar Mays Matt McQuaid Memphis Grizzlies NBA Draft Prospects (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Memphis Grizzlies are getting their NBA Draft workouts underway as they look to add some exciting young talent to their organization.

The Memphis Grizzlies are in a unique situation leading up to the NBA Draft in that they possibly could have zero picks on draft night. They currently have the 8th pick in the draft, but after the lottery, there’s a chance that they drop down which would convey their pick to the Boston Celtics since it would be outside the top eight.

The Grizzlies also are without a second round pick as well after they made the trade to acquire Justin Holiday. That doesn’t mean the draft will be useless though even if they do end up without a pick they still have the chance to acquire prospects as undrafted free agents. They had six prospects into a workout on Thursday with others, including Yoeli Childs set to work out in the coming days.

Marlon Hunter Jr.

Marlon Hunter Jr. spent the past two seasons at Jacksonville State after spending the 2015-16 season at Western Kentucky with a Juco stint at Odessa in between. This past season he averaged 12.7 points and 3.8 rebounds on 48% shooting including 36% from three-point range. He is a good player who has been a good college player, but the NBA is much different than mid-major division one basketball, he has a lot to work on if he’s going to make it at the next level.

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One of his major concerns is the lack of assists as a guard. Not all guards make a lot of plays, but the ones who don’t generally have other ways to really impact the game and he doesn’t make up for just 0.8 assists per game that he averaged. His three-point shooting will have to improve to make up for that as he made just 0.6 per game. He is a good player who would be a good addition to the franchise, but he will likely be in the G-league, for multiple years.

Anthony Lawrence II

Anthony Lawrence is a good player who has what it takes to be successful at the next level. There’s a good chance the majority of the prospects will go undrafted as well as likely starting off their professional careers in the G-League. That doesn’t mean they don’t have what it takes to get to the NBA they just will need to put in the work to improve their game.

Lawrence continued to improve as his career went along and he capped it off with a successful senior season in which he averaged 12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game on 45% shooting including 35% from three-point range. His progression throughout college shows that he can continue to get better as he begins his professional career.

Skylar Mays

Skylar Mays is an exciting player who plays at a high level and contributes on both ends of the floor. He has a chance to find a role in the NBA as a three-and-d type of player. He was a three-year starter at LSU as he started all but nine games in his college career, but decided to forgo his final year of eligibility after all the drama surrounding Will Wade and the rest of the program.

This past season at LSU he averaged 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game on 42% shooting including 31% from three-point range. His shooting is the main part of the offense, but he also has shown the ability to attack the basket. He will need to continue to evolve his offensive game, but if he does then he has a real chance at making an NBA roster.

Matt McQuaid

Matt McQuaid is another good player who has a chance to become a good player at the next level. His biggest skill is his shooting which is very important in today’s NBA. He may have some flaws elsewhere, but if he truly becomes a great shooter than he will have a chance to find a role with an NBA team.

McQuaid never was a key player during his time at Michigan State, but he was a good role player his first three seasons before becoming a starter this past season. During his senior season, he averaged 9.8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game on 43% shooting including 42% from three-point range. He will need to develop out the rest of his game to make it to the NBA, but his shooting should at the very least earn him a spot in the G-League.

Juwan Morgan

Juwan Morgan is a very exciting prospect who seems to be a guy with the ideal skill set for a backup power forward in today’s NBA. He is listed as 6’8″ and 231 pounds which might seem a bit undersized for a big man, but in today’s game it really isn’t, especially when they possess the talent and ability that he does.

Morgan was a four-year player at Indiana and he continued to improve in every way as his career went along. This past season he did a little bit of everything as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game on 56% shooting including 30% from three-point range. If he can continue to improve his shooting then he has a chance to make an NBA roster right away even though he would spend some time in the G-League, either way, most likely.

Josh Reaves

Josh Reaves is the final player who reportedly worked out for the Grizzlies on Wednesday. He has started the majority of his games during his four years at Penn State and he has continued to improve especially on the offensive end. His defense has always been stellar which is shown by two Big Ten All-Defense awards as well as winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

His defense is what he prides his game on, but his offensive improvement is why teams are really interested in him making the NBA. Being a great defender is great, but very few of the elite defenders get by without a good offensive game. This past season he averaged 10.6 points, 5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.5 steals per game on 43% shooting including 36% from three-point range. His freshman season he shot just 8% from beyond the arc so he has already made large strides in that area and if he continues to do so then he will be successful.

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All six of these players have some ability that makes them intriguing NBA Draft prospects. As things currently stand it seems unlikely that any of them will be drafted. If these players continue to put in the work they can have successful pro careers, either with the Grizzlies or elsewhere.